The electricity we use to keep the lights on, the gas or oil we heat our homes with and the petrol we put in our cars are all responsible for emitting carbon dioxide – the gas widely believed to be linked to climate change. So cutting our energy use makes a lot of sense if we want to be environmentally responsible citizens and it can also save you hundreds of pounds of your hard–earned cash.
There are all sorts of ways of saving energy such as walking to the shops or putting only a mugful of water in the kettle. But alongside this, there’s a massive, growing market in energy-saving technology. Some of it is cheap, quick and simple, and will start saving you money today. Other technologies are more of an investment, but they can pay rich dividends over a number of years.
We’ve put together a few ideas, so there should be something to suit everyone’s budget.
- Smart thermostats
Using a thermostat to control your heating isn’t new, but like many aspects of the millennial home, scientists are making them smarter. A smart thermostat like the Nest can control the temperature of your home based on knowledge of your lifestyle and habits. It uses a combination of high-tech sensors and apps to adjust the temperature according to the weather. At around £200, a smart thermostat is a small investment that should make major inroads into a big household expense.
- Washing machines that think
Manufacturers such as LG are already producing washing machines enabled for the rollout of the ‘smart grid’ – and able to delay energy-intensive wash cycles until cheaper off-peak periods. This is the major energy saving but there’s an even bigger potential boost to your bank balance, as these machines can use the internet to self-diagnose problems, saving money on those ultra-expensive callouts.
- Energy-saving power adaptors
Charging up phones, tablets and laptops now accounts for over 10% of home energy bills. Some of this money could be saved by using a power adaptor that knows how much energy your device needs and stops charging when that point is reached.
- Generate your own energy
Installing solar panels for heat and/or power can shave thousands off your energy bills over time. The initial investment is substantial but this is one piece of technology that can actually earn you money – by selling energy back to the national grid via the Feed-in Tariff. The Energy Savings Trust is a good source of advice.
- Change to an eco-friendly car
Particularly if you’re a big-mileage driver, you can save huge sums of money by trading in your old gas-guzzler for a more fuel-efficient car. Petrol and diesel car manufacturers are putting big bucks into getting more and more miles to the litre of fuel. Fully electric cars and hybrids are the ultimate energy-saving option, of course, and they have the additional benefit of lower tax rates and no Congestion Charge if you’re in London.
Saving the planet AND saving money – the feel-good factor is too good to miss out on.